Two Ways to Leverage Old Stories That Linger in Your Life

Photographer Dreama Spence said,

“In the work of photography, it’s easy to get bombarded with ideas from everyone else. My goal has always been to be my own self.

DOCUMENTARY IS VERY PERSONAL.

To dig deep and think about a feeling or story, THEN choose when to click the shutter has been very freeing + I’m a better storyteller too.”

Dreama reached two milestones during her time in The Preservation Project:

1. She grew up without a father from age 4 and used The Preservation Project (TPP for short) to process her thoughts. By doing one of TPP’s Observation action options, she invited her sister to a high-value conversation.

What good are all the things we document if we don’t use them to serve us?

So often, our stories remain in our memory bank or hidden away in boxes and hard drives. No news there. The problem is that most people think albums & wall prints when they think of doing something with their photos. In reality, you can use your stories to spark HIGH CONNECTION, not just something to display in your home.

On having THAT conversation, Dreama said:

“To realize how our childhood also affected my sister made me feel like I wasn’t alone + allowed us to connect on a level we hadn’t yet as adults. Talking about the details and putting them in a more permanent format helped begin the healing process.”

2. She also traveled to Arkansas to visit family she hadn’t seen in 20 years where she turned a story into an Iconic Photo.

This is one of her favorite trip photos *sparked* from implementing TPP’s framework:

Family memories in pictures

“Uncle Perry had activities planned for us everyday, so we’d get up, eat breakfast, and head to his house to scoop him up before starting the day. It’s a simple photograph of my Uncle Perry sitting in his garage watching the day go by or for company to arrive.

THIS IS HIS TV.

On the second day, I realized this was “HIS THING” and asked my mom, on the third day, to not pull in the driveway as soon as we arrived – that I wanted to take his photo. This is without a doubt engrained in his neighbors or visitors minds.”

Dreama describes The Preservation Project:

“TPP gives you permission + the headspace to quiet all the hustle-bustle of busy life and reflect on what actually matters TO YOU when it comes to family preservation. It’s about getting those memories out of your head and into a format that allows connection + legacies to live on for generations.

In short, TPP is about: awareness, freedom, and healing.”

One last takeaway:

“I’ve always known what’s mattered, but through The Preservation Project, I developed an awareness. I can hear my own thoughts louder than before, which has allowed me to react to them. I made two photographs during TPP that wouldn’t have been possible without that awareness.”

What could you be overlooking that TPP will save from falling through the documentary cracks? What stories could strengthen the ties in your relationships?

Here’s to SEEING your world better than before… and better responding to what you see.

Click here to begin.

Author: MarieMasse
I help client documentary photographers fine-tune their workflow + marketing game, so their work is filled with sessions that represent their voice + client values while earning a living. I shoot undirected, off-beat stories that aren’t preserved often enough (like the story of couples before starting a fam or becoming empty-nesters – a dream project of mine), so my clients’ old box of photos is a meaningful, visual diary of their life + legacy to leave behind.

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